With the warmer weather upon us, our attention turns to being outside on our bikes – at cycling events, riding to school, in parks and along bike paths. But with this brings a higher risk of accidents and a greater need for safe cycling awareness.
Children often have little to no understanding of their surroundings or of the potential risks that riding their bike poses. As parents it is our role to encourage and guide our children to minimise these risks. Check out these top 5 tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable bicycle ride with your child:
1. Provide supervision
Cycling guidelines suggest children under twelve should not be allowed to ride on the road without adult supervision. Provide your child with a flat, open space so they can learn how to safely ride in a straight line, brake, and corner where needed.
2. Complete safety checks
Ensure your child’s bicycle and equipment such as helmets and lights are operational and comply with Australian Safety Standards. Consider and action the following points prior to going out for a ride:
• Is the seat at the right height and tightened appropriately?
• Do the tyres need repairing or require more air?
• Are the bike’s brakes, pedals, chain, seat and handlebars operational and safe to use?
• Does the bell/horn work?
• Do the lights and reflectors still function?
• Has the helmet been damaged or dropped recently? If so, get a new helmet.
3. Explain the road rules
Teach your child the road rules they must follow when riding their bikes. This may safeguard against potential accidents and help them become considerate road users. Key rules include but are not limited to:
• Kids under the age of 12 can ride on designated footpaths;
• Dismount bike when crossing road and use designated pedestrian crossings to do so;
• Signal when turning corners;
• Keep your distance from other riders and pedestrians;
• Keep to the left;
• Children should be forward facing and have both hands on the handlebars at all times; and
• Use bicycle lights when riding at night or in conditions with reduced visibility.
4. Road safety awareness
It’s important from an early age to create road safety awareness in our kids. Help your child be better equipped on our roads by providing insights such as:
• Watch out for cars coming out of driveways;
• Check over your shoulder for any oncoming bikes, pedestrians or cars prior to signalling and turning;
• Make sure you’re clearly visible to motorists by wearing brightly coloured clothes – especially when the lighting is low;
• Stick to the bike paths where possible; and
• Be courteous to other road users.
5. Watch out for hazards
Unfortunately, bike riding comes with it’s share of hazards. Advising your child of what to do in events such as magpies swooping, water on the road/path, or uneven surfaces will go a long way to preparing them for a safe ride.
Road Safety matters
It’s important to continue the dialogue surrounding road safety for vulnerable road users such as children, cyclists and pedestrians. But more importantly, let us all concentrate on preventing road injuries from occurring in the first place!
For more information Queensland’s bicycle road rules and safety tips, check out: https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/nonpowered/bicycle/
Maurice Blackburn are the preferred legal supplier for Triathlon Queensland members. For more information on how Maurice Blackburn can get you back on track, call 1800 810 812 or visit mauriceblackburn.com.au